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Workplace Policies

ONCA: teacher had reasonable expectation of privacy on work computer in face of no clear policy

Jurisdiction: - Ontario
Sector: - Education

In R. v Cole, 2011 ONCA 218, a criminal law case, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that a high school teacher had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of a work laptop computer on which he was entitled to store personal information.

In making this finding, the court pointed in part to the fact that the employer had no clear privacy policy relating to teachers' work laptops, and no policy statement  reserving the right to monitor or search the teachers' laptops.

However, the appeal court further ruled in its March 22, 2011 decision that:  read more »

"On-line Social Networking Forums: (Un)Welcome to the Workplace"

"On-line Social Networking Forums: (Un)Welcome to the Workplace" (2010) is the title of a paper written by three lawyers at Gowlings - Melanie Polowin, Bettina Burgess, and Laurence Bourgeois-Hatto.

The paper reviews, "the legal and practical issues and provides recommendations for the three main areas where on-line social networking forums impact the modern workplace:

  1. when used as a tool for recruitment;
  2. when used as a tool for marketing/selling; and
  3. when social networking becomes social notworking, or is otherwise harmful to the employer."

Manitoba introduces new requirements to protect workers from psychological harassment

Jurisdiction: - Manitoba

The Manitoba government has introduced changes to the Workplace, Safety and Health Regulation to protect workers from psychological harassment. The changes will come into force effective February 1, 2011.

According to the government's October 21, 2010 news release and an October 2010 Manitoba SafeWork bulletin (No. 275):

  • Employers must develop a written policy to prevent harassment in the workplace and must make sure that workers follow this policy. In developing the policy, employers must consult the workplace safety and health committee or representative. If there is no committee or representative, the workers must be consulted.
  • "harassment" is defined as:

    (a) objectionable conduct that creates a risk to the health of a worker

  • or

"Employment Policies for First Nations Employers"

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal
Sector: - First Nations

Eamon Murphy and Kathryn Deo, at Woodward & Company in Victoria, have written a paper on "Employment Policies for First Nations Employers" (undated).

"Privacy In Practice: Top 10 Workplace Q&As"

Andrea York, a lawyer at Blakes, wrote a paper entitled, "Privacy In Practice: Top 10 Workplace Q&As" for the Six-Minute Employment Lawyer conference that was presented by The Law Society of Upper Canada in Toronto on June 15, 2010. 

The 10 questions she addresses are:  read more »

"Quebec Court Discusses Rights And Obligations Regarding Employee Inventions"

Jurisdiction: - Quebec

Ogilvy Renault lawyer George R. Locke has prepared a newsletter article entitled, "Quebec Court Discusses Rights And Obligations Regarding Employee Inventions" (June 2010).

The article addresses the Quebec Court of Appeal's decison in Corporation de l'École Polytechnique de Montréal v. Fardad, 2010 QCCA 992, in which it ruled in favour of the academic inventor and against the university.

"Untangling The Web: Social Networking in the Workplace"

Melanie D. McNaught at Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP in Ontario presented a paper called "Untangling The Web: Social Networking in the Workplace" at the firm's June 11, 2010 client seminar. The paper addresses the following four questions of interest to employers:

 read more »